A 15-year-old girl from Aylesbury is cycling 350 miles across Italy in potentially searing heat in May in order to raise money for 'Women V Cancer'.
Niamh Corser, who attends John Colet School, was inspired to take on the daunting challenge after having her own brush with cancer at just 13 years old.
Niamh initially went to have a mole removed from her back, describing it merely as “a nuisance” but following routine tests she was informed that it was a malignant melanoma – just a day before she was due to go on holiday with her family.
Following an operation involving a wide local excision and a sentinel lymph node biopsy, Niamh was thankfully given the all-clear though she still has to have three-monthly check-ups.
After a period of recovery the brave teen decided she wanted to do something to help others going through the same thing and to raise awareness.
“Cancer is such a horrible disease which no one should have to experience. 1 in 2 people will sadly be effected by cancer in their lifetime. As I have personally experienced truly how horrible this disease is I am raising money and, as importantly, awareness of ways to prevent and treat this vile disease.”
She explained to us how she has given some talks during assemblies at school regarding what she went through and has also held cakes sales. But when her mum saw the bike ride challenge event on Facebook, Niamh said, “it seemed like the perfect thing to sign up for."
Niamh will be accompanied by her mum, Rachael, her auntie, Mags King and her mum's friend, Sue Wilkinson. The challenge, which starts on 8 May, is to cycle from Milan to Venice in three days, meaning they must ride just over 100 miles each day.
Niamh's mum, Rachael, told us:
“I’m so incredibly proud of Niamh and all she’s done to try and make a difference to future cancer suffers. She’s been training hard for the bike ride - every Sunday is taken up with long, and at the moment wet, cold and windy, training rides! We’re all hoping for a mild and sunny spring!"
Niamh's indomitable spirit is possibly best summed up by what she told us when we asked if the potential for extreme heat worried her. She replied:
“Well we've done rides in the summer this year when it was over 30 degrees and although it was definitely more exhausting that just makes it an even better challenge!"
Women V Cancer is a series of women-only cycle challenges in aid of three British charities – Breast Cancer Now, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action and the money raised is distributed equally between them.
You can sponsor Niamh here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rachael-corser
To find out more about melanoma go to: www.nhs.uk/conditions/melanoma-skin-cancer